Stroke and TIA
About 700,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. Strokes kill nearly 163,000 people annually and are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die. Because the brain controls a wide range of body functions, strokes can affect many different abilities, including speech, vision, reasoning, the ability to walk and others. A TIA (transient ischemic attack) is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that occurs when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery. A TIA produces short-term stroke-like symptoms.
Strokes and TIAs are the result of cardiovascular disease. This disease affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. The carotid arteries travel up each side of the neck and branch into smaller vessels that supply blood to the brain. The carotid arteries are a common location for hardening and narrowing of artery walls (atherosclerosis) to occur. Carotid endarterectomy is an operation whereby the carotid arteries are cleared.
Carotid Endarterectomy Surgery at Virginia Mason
The Vascular Center at Virginia Mason was established in 2002 to diagnose and treat patients with vascular disease. The center is a collaborative effort between neurologists, interventional radiologists, vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists. Each physician contributes to patient evaluation and treatment, emphasizing his or her area of expertise. Vascular surgeons at Virginia Mason have performed more than 1,000 carotid endarterectomy procedures since 1994.